You have most likely heard of or read an article recently about Google Places. Many industry experts are recommending you secure your business listing on Google Places and make sure you do what you can to enhance your listing. This is solid advice and if you have not already followed it, read on to learn more about why you should.

Google Places is an offering by Google which allows a business to populate a free page with photos, hours, services and other information which can then be found by prospective customers. This page benefits the business owner by allowing them to present the information they want known about themselves and it benefits Google by allowing them to present more complete and accurate information to searchers.

Google uses information gathered from various sources to populate as many businesses and as much information as possible. However, since this information comes from third-party sites, it may be inaccurate. By allowing the actual business owner to submit their information about the business, Google can present that info with confidence.

Again, this page is provided for FREE. All you need to do is have a Google Account, also free, and then verify your business listing via phone or mail. Once you have completed this step, you will be able to access your page and personalize the information found there. In addition to photos, you can upload video, specify the various services provided, and post a description of your business. All of this is great information for a prospective customer to have easily at hand.

Oh, and there is the little matter of search ranking. Google states “All Google search results are based primarily on relevance, and Google Maps listings are no different. Google Maps ranks business listings based on their relevance to the search terms entered, along with geographic distance (where indicated) and other factors.” Google Places puts the power in your hands to make sure your business listing contains that ‘Relevance to search terms entered‘.

Properly populating your Google Places page can have a major impact on your search ranking. It is a Google product so there is no doubt Google will be able to make the most out of it for indexing. Think of this just like Search Engine Optimizing your website, except this page is free and hosted by the search engine itself.

So if you haven’t already done so, get your business verified on Google Places. If you already have, make sure your content is up-to-date and all of your services are listed with good descriptions. All it will cost you is a little time and the benefits could be great.

For more information, Google’s help page is here: http://www.google.com/support/places/

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